Lake Malawi Species • Upgrading - Looking for recommendations

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Upgrading - Looking for recommendations

Postby Cosi » Wed Apr 01, 2020 5:11 pm

First post. I am upgrading my long established 90gal (4ft) to a 125 gal (6ft) mbuna aquarium. The 90 has been running stable and continuously for almost 15years with mbuna. I run the tank with very high flow rate and several hundred pounds of stacked lace rock. I will be moving rocks, substrate, and stock to the 125gallon. I will adding another 50+ lbs of rock. I am considering adding a 4th species and I am looking for recommendations.

Here is my current stock:
16-18 Chindongo demasoni Pombo Rocks colony. Currently have two full grown dominant males which have been co-dominant for over a year. This is the first time in 15years this has happened.
5F/2M Metriaclima Zebra Dwarf Manda
5 Labidochromis caeruleus Lion's Cove ''Yellow Lab''

I would like to stick to smaller mbuna species. I will probably add a few more demasoni. Any recommendations for a 4th group would be appreciated. Thanks
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Re: Upgrading - Looking for recommendations

Postby Fogelhund » Wed Apr 01, 2020 5:22 pm

M. sp, zebra Gold... especially with OB females. http://malawi.si/Malawi/Mbuna/Maylandia ... index.html

Metriaclima tarakiki (sp. Zebra Slim) http://malawi.si/Malawi/Mbuna/Maylandia ... index.html -> Also with OB would be preferable.

Not dwarf, but M. callainos would look nice with the others... one male and a bunch of females shouldn't cause too much of an issue in your tank.
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Re: Upgrading - Looking for recommendations

Postby Cosi » Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:46 pm

Very nice suggestions. Thanks. M. Zebra Gold was one of the ones I was looking at. C. flavus was another. How do they compare?

Some of the others I was considering include P. Polit, P. Perspicax, I. sprengerae, and L. Perlmutt.
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Re: Upgrading - Looking for recommendations

Postby Fogelhund » Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:21 pm

Cosi wrote:Very nice suggestions. Thanks. M. Zebra Gold was one of the ones I was looking at. C. flavus was another. How do they compare?

Some of the others I was considering include P. Polit, P. Perspicax, I. sprengerae, and L. Perlmutt.


flavus, if you can get good ones, which isn't often anymore, would be fine... I'd go with the zebra gold, as most flavus are pretty poor now.

P. polit, likely won't colour up. P. perspicax are ridiculously aggressive. I. sprengerae are ok... but, I've never really liked how they look. L. perlmutt I wouldn't keep with L. caeruleus.
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Re: Upgrading - Looking for recommendations

Postby Cosi » Thu Apr 02, 2020 4:28 pm

Fogelhund wrote:
Cosi wrote:Very nice suggestions. Thanks. M. Zebra Gold was one of the ones I was looking at. C. flavus was another. How do they compare?

Some of the others I was considering include P. Polit, P. Perspicax, I. sprengerae, and L. Perlmutt.


flavus, if you can get good ones, which isn't often anymore, would be fine... I'd go with the zebra gold, as most flavus are pretty poor now.

P. polit, likely won't colour up. P. perspicax are ridiculously aggressive. I. sprengerae are ok... but, I've never really liked how they look. L. perlmutt I wouldn't keep with L. caeruleus.



Appreciate the insights. I live in a small town so I dont have the ability to observe any of these in person.
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Re: Upgrading - Looking for recommendations

Postby Cosi » Thu Apr 02, 2020 4:59 pm

Any opinions on Metriaclima hajomaylandi Chizumulu?
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Re: Upgrading - Looking for recommendations

Postby Cosi » Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:46 pm

Has anyone kept a larger colony of perspicax in a mixed mbuna tank? I wondering if having a group of 10-12 raised from unsexed juveniles will help spread and focus their aggression on their own species.

Really great suggestions by Fogelhund which Im still weighing but ultimately my preference is still for dwarf/small mbuna. Other than the drab females and aggressiveness, the perspicax would seem to fit my preferences. These were suggested by the breeder/supplier that I will use. He indicated that that they should be no more aggresive than demasoni or polit if kept in a large enough group. He nixed the polit and perlmutt for the reasons Fogelhund stated. He also did not recommend the flavus, zebra gold, or hajomaylandi because they all get to 5-6" and my preference for a smaller species.
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Re: Upgrading - Looking for recommendations

Postby Cosi » Tue Apr 07, 2020 2:49 pm

Im still on the fence with the Perspicax. I keep talking myself in and out of getting them as the 4th species group. There doesnt seem to be a universal consensus on their behavior but the majority on posts/info I have seen would indicate that they are trouble.
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Re: Upgrading - Looking for recommendations

Postby SoccerMbunaAndShak » Tue Apr 07, 2020 3:37 pm

I'm personally a big fan of the cynotilapias. A recent discovery of mine is the pseudtropheus williamsi. Their lips are just so funny and at the same time beautiful. Also, may I suggest the labeotropheus genus? There are red top L. trewavassae that could get the same effect as the perspicax with less, but not nonexistent, aggression.
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Re: Upgrading - Looking for recommendations

Postby Cosi » Tue Apr 07, 2020 5:38 pm

Thanks. Some more to think about.

I am a fan of the cyno's too although I have never kept them. I felt that I was taking a calculated risk mixing the M. Zebra dwarf with demasoni because their both blue/black barred. Although the M. zebra dwarf manda are the color negatives of the demasoni. I think adding another BB species would probably end in disaster.

P. Williamsi are a great species that I kept for many years. Their behavior in my tank was distinctly different than any other mbuna I have had. They grew very large and capable of swimming like a lightning bolts; so fast that my eyes couldnt track. I had a group of 2M/5F. When the males fought I could hear their heads knocking together outside the tank. If I was to keep these again it would be in a very large tank.

I kept Labeotropheus fuelleborni for many years, in fact, this was my first mbuna. One of my favorites. When I would put my hands in the tank for maintenance they would let me pet them. They could hold their own with any of the mbuna I kept but were never aggressive. L. trewavassae and fuelleborni also get quite large.
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Re: Upgrading - Looking for recommendations

Postby DJRansome » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:12 pm

I kept demasoni and hara together (color negative blue barred fish) and they did not kill each other, but over time (2 years) the hara did not thrive. Once I separated them the hara DID thrive.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: Upgrading - Looking for recommendations

Postby Cosi » Tue Apr 07, 2020 9:25 pm

I'm not sure about hara specifically, but cyno's seem to have a rep for not thriving among hyper aggressive species. It's too early to tell how the dwarf mandas will do with the demasoni long term but the dominant male zebra is the tank boss. They were already about 3" when I introduced them which might have helped. The females are O-morphs and look iridescent pink.
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Re: Upgrading - Looking for recommendations

Postby Cosi » Tue Apr 28, 2020 12:56 pm

The new 125gallon is setup and Im really happy with how its turning out after some initial fish drama. Fresh start with zero nitrates! Ill try to post some pics and details in seperate thread.

Mbuna can be ruthless. I left the 90g full and running while I moved the rocks to the 125g. I covered the 90gal with a sheet to try to reduce the fish stress with all the commotion occuring. When I uncovered part of the 90g to start cleaning/moving the filters, I noticed both of my ~4" dominant male demasonis were injured with one seemingly near death at the top of the tank. So much for the long standing truce between them. I quickly netted the one near death and put him into the new tank so he could get a head start. After completing the setup and moving all the fish over the 2 big males went at it again non-stop for hours. The next day with both fish totally 100% exhausted, a half-grown demasoni started fighting both of them and eventually chased them into hiding with colors completely faded. Today is Day 3 and other than white lips, chewed up fins, and one slightly cloudy eye both males seem back to their normal full-color hyperactive dominance with one on each side of the tank. I will be adding more demasoni this week which should help settle them down. I have decided to take an informed risk and also add juvenile Perspicax as a 4th species group.

So here is the final 125g stock list:
9 (2M/7F O-morph) Metriaclima Zebra Dwarf Manda
7 (2-3M/5-4F) Labidochromis caeruleus Lion's Cove ''Yellow Lab''
22 Chindongo demasoni Pombo Rocks
10 Pseudotropheus sp. ''Perspicax Orange Cap'' Ndumbi

The total number of fish seems a bit high but they are mainly aggressive dwarf species. Also in my exprience it can be difficult to source additional females years down the road. So I am starting with larger groups and will thin/rehome the males if necessary. I will also be performing 75gal water changes once or twice a week. Any opinions or perspectives?
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Re: Upgrading - Looking for recommendations

Postby DJRansome » Tue Apr 28, 2020 6:23 pm

I am not familiar with Metriaclima Zebra Dwarf Manda, do you know the scientific name? Is it a blue barred fish?

It will be interesting to see what you think of the perspicax and also how the demasoni do with the zebras.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: Upgrading - Looking for recommendations

Postby Cosi » Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:41 pm

DJRansome wrote:I am not familiar with Metriaclima Zebra Dwarf Manda, do you know the scientific name? Is it a blue barred fish?

It will be interesting to see what you think of the perspicax and also how the demasoni do with the zebras.


I have been able to only find a little bit of info on the M. Zebra Dwarf. http://www.malawicichlides.fr/topic3604.html
Konings has tentatively placed these as a dwarf species in the blue blaze group of M. Zebra from the Likoma Island area. The ones I have are F1 so they are still being collected. They are apparently pretty rare and haven't been properly classified yet. They are extremely dimorphic. The males look like small M. Pulpican and the females are a solid iridescent pink with a few to no black specs or botches. Really cool species that supposedly only gets to ~4". Mine are only about 3 - 3.5" right now. The females tend to school in open areas of my tank when they feel safe. They seem like tough little fish.

Time will tell how they all do in my setup. The perspicax I am receiving are only 1". So I probably wont know for a couple of more years. So far the interactions between the zebra and Dems has not been so different than that of the yellow labs and Dems. Normal aggressive indifference.
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